Brendan Smith has been all the buzz around the Red Wings prospect pool. Whispers of his skill started immediately as he was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings with their first pick, 27th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Those whispers became vocal conversations when Smith was called up to the Red Wings AHL affiliate team, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for the 2010-11 season.
He had spent the previous three years playing for the University of Wisconsin, where he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist, an award granted to the top men’s ice hockey player in the NCAA.
While there will never be another Nicklas Lidstrom, Smith was and is being looked at as the cornerstone piece in preparation of filling the gap Lidstrom will leave in his retirement whenever (or if ever) that may be.
Smith is 23 years of age, stands 6’1’ weighs 199 pounds and was born in Ontario. Canada. He amassed 32 points in 63 games with the Griffins and made his NHL debut on Nov. 17, 2011.
He has since had four more appearances wearing the winged wheel where he has put up three points in limited ice time.
One of those points came by way of his first goal on March 2, 2012 where he helped the Wings in gathering a 6-0 win in front of his parents, who were present at the game.
A game where Smith got his start by way of both Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson being injured and, Mike Commodore being recently traded away.
All eyes should be on Smith not only to take a glimpse into the future of the Red Wing blue line. Not only to see what role he could play in the ever-present (but hopefully never realized) threat of a Lidstrom retirement. Not only to watch an up-and-coming star.
But to understand who he is. How he plays. And what his future will bring.
Right now, his future is looking bright. The organization seems to value and like him a lot. As does Coach Mike Babcock, his Red Wing teammates including recent linemate Jakub Kindl, and the Red Wings fans.
The Red Wings may be known for the talent found past the fifth round of the draft; however, this first-round pick shows great promise.